Trans­for­ma­tion a burn­ing is­sue

Time for all stakeholders to help with mean­ing­ful change

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY - BONNY FOURIE

TRANS­FOR­MA­TION of South Africa’s prop­erty sec­tor is a burn­ing is­sue among sec­tor stakeholders, and both the govern­ment and pri­vate sec­tors need to do more to ad­dress it.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties for de­ci­sive and mean­ing­ful trans­for­ma­tion strides are avail­able, but still more is needed.

“Op­por­tu­nity with­out ed­u­ca­tional knowl­edge is set­ting black peo­ple up for fail­ure,” says Toza Ma­co­zoma, vice chair­man of the Youth in Prop­erty As­so­ci­a­tion.

This is where govern­ment and pri­vate prop­erty com­pa­nies should step in.

“Govern­ment bur­saries are the eas­i­est way, but if we want more prop­erty stu­dents, in­dus­try needs to give more too.”

Ma­co­zoma says a ca­reer in prop­erty does not draw black stu­dents who seek jobs with more sta­tus as lawyers, doc­tors and char­tered ac­coun­tants.

Less than 30% of prop­erty stud­ies stu­dents at UCT are black, and of those only 10% will go on to work in the in­dus­try.

“This cre­ates a lag in trans­for­ma­tion and aware­ness of the pro­fes­sion can also be blamed. For­mal­is­ing the pro­fes­sion will add some stature.”

Ma­co­zoma says the govern­ment, in charge of im­ple­ment­ing and reg­u­lat­ing the coun­try’s trans­for­ma­tion agenda, should of­fer “more re­ward­ing” in­cen­tives – like tax breaks – for com­pa­nies that com­ply. By the same to­ken, there should also be puni­tive mea­sures for non-com­pli­ance.

“There needs to be more help to get black peo­ple on an equal foot­ing be­cause with­out that, they will never be able to reach their full po­ten­tial.”

The In­sti­tute of Es­tate Agents of South Africa ( IEASA) “keenly sup­ports trans­for­ma­tion in any way”, says chair­man Gary Ni­chols. Youth is where this trans­for­ma­tion will be seen. How­ever, the bar­ri­ers to en­try – in­clud­ing no ba­sic salary and agents re­quir­ing their own cell­phones, lap­tops, and cars – still present prob­lems in the trans­for­ma­tion agenda.

Jan Tladi, of the Es­tate Agen­cies Af­fairs Board, says there is still “a long way to go” to trans­form the in­dus­try.

“We want to cre­ate a rep­re­sen­ta­tive prop­erty mar­ket (but) about 17% of the to­tal es­tate agents are from the pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged pop­u­la­tion. We want to cre­ate a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for this.

“The size of the prop­erty mar­ket is mas­sive. The cake is big and it is cur­rently shared by only a few.”

How­ever, Tladi says it should not be the board’s ex­clu­sive re­spon­si­bil­ity to trans­form the in­dus­try but, that is should rather be an “in­clu­sive process” un­der­taken by all rel- evant stakeholders.

“It should not be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the reg­u­la­tor alone.”

New leg­is­la­tion, such as the Prop­erty Prac­ti­tion­ers Bill, is also needed, he says, ex­plain­ing that South Africa’s re­cent his­tory has shown mar­kets can­not reg­u­late them­selves. The Bill needs to a chap­ter that deals purely with trans­for­ma­tion and “each and ev­ery” prop­erty prac­ti­tioner must com­ply with the code.

“The other thing is com­pelling the govern­ment to use reg­is­tered es­tate agents when procur­ing goods and ser­vices. They must also use reg­is­tered prop­erty prac­ti­tion­ers who are com­ply­ing with BEE.”

Re­gard­ing the is­sue of en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents to em­bark on ca­reers in prop­erty, Tladi says the es­tate agents board is plan­ning an in­cu­ba­tion pro­gramme for black prac­ti­tion­ers who do not have ex­pe­ri­ence. Its aim is to place them un­der men­tor­ship and equip them with the tools needed.

The pro­gramme also aims to sus­tain them fi­nan­cially while they are learn­ing as the field is com­mis­sion-based.

Board mar­ket­ing man­ager Margie Camp­bell em­pha­sises though that it is “im­per­a­tive” that the 12-month in­tern­ships and qual­i­fi­ca­tion cri­te­ria for new agents re­main.

“It is also im­per­a­tive for them to have cell­phones, cars and lap­tops. We need to find a way for them to have th­ese things and the qual­i­fi­ca­tions as be­cause they need them. But we also need it to not be a bar­rier for en­try as we can­not by­pass them.”

Vice-chair of the Youth in Prop­erty As­so­ci­a­tion, Toza Ma­co­zoma.

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